Hot or Cold? Paint Stripping from Metal

With all the concern regarding the risks of using acid based cold strippers, we always get asked about hot stripping chemicals, is it a safer option? How does it perform? Let’s take a look at hot and cold stripping, and which is best for paint stripping from metal. 

So what are the benefits of either?

Cold strip has always been and will always be the most effective way of stripping alloy wheels, and the most cost-effective way, however, there are the safety elements to consider which will be highlighted when you conduct a thorough risk assessment when setting up your business. As a business owner, having staff working with acid is a cause for major concern and ensuring a safe working environment with relevant protocols and procedures is vital. So how can you protect yourself and your staff? The key to this is ensuring you have the correct set up, from risk assessments and staff training, to PPE and beyond. If you speak to one of our representatives, we are more than happy to assist with your set up; from your storage, location, tanks, PPE and risk assessments. As we specialise in metal surface treatments and use our chemicals in house, we have more knowledge than most in the industry. We are the only manufacturer who use their own products.

Information and best practice can be found HERE

What about the performance?

Cold alloy wheel stripping chemicals will outperform most other paint strippers currently on the market, there are plenty to choose from, but again, choosing the right supplier to partner with is a massive step in the right direction.

Most cold stripping chemicals will typically strip within a few hours, our alloy wheel stripping chemical, Stripper HF, has been known to strip most alloy wheels and coatings within an hour and could last up to 8 weeks if maintained well.

What about after stripping?

Once the wheel or parts have been stripped, there is an obvious acid residue on the part on removal from the tank. This can be neutralised using an alkaline product, our Neutradip is the ideal solution! Having enough in a separate tank to dip and cover the parts or wheel, the solution uses alkaline to neutralise the acid residue for safer handling.

How about costs?

A typical set up can cost as little as £1000 including the tank, chemical and PPE, this may increase if you want to build a chemical room and over head gantry etc., with top-ups costing from as little as £2 per litre making this the most cost effective option.

So what about hot paint stripping from metal?

Hot stripping methods have been around for years, however unlike the cold stripping, there is not much information out there to discuss the true advantages and limitations of hot strip, however with over 25 years in paint stripping, we have a wide range of knowledge to arm you with.

Many people think the hot strip is a safer chemical to work with, and in short, the answer is yes it is. The long term damage from a chemical burn caused from the hot strip chemical is much less, as opposed to a burn from the cold strip which can cause a serious amount of damage to the user, so this does make the hot strip it a safer chemical. The fumes and vapors are less toxic which again makes it a more environmentally safe chemical. Although the risks are reduced, the product is still a chemical and as such, the appropriate selection and use of PPE is non-negotiable as it is with all chemical products.

There are different types of hot stripping chemicals on the market; acid based, water based, alkaline based etc. They all perform in different ways and timescales.

One of our most popular hot stripping chemicals is our Ribstrip 17. This is a water-based stripper which has been developed by our MD in-house to be user and environmentally safe.

Information and best practice can be found HERE

How does it perform against our popular HF Stripper?

The difference between hot and cold strip is like chalk and cheese. The cold strip will give you a faster turnaround as detailed above, however the hot strippers are not a quick fix. The typical stripping times can vary massively between 3 – 8 hours depending on the temperature the tank is running at. Most set ups with hot strip tend to work on 48 hour turn around times which allows the wheels to soak all day, swapped and then a second batch soaked overnight. With tank sizes ranging from 4 wheels up to 16 wheels, this allows you to strip up to 32 wheels in a 24 hour period. Many hot strip set ups also have a cold strip tank running for when they need quicker turn around on jobs.

How do I neutralise after stripping?

Neutralising hot strip will depend on the make-up of the chemical itself. Our Ribstrip 17 is water-based and as such, you can use water to rinse and neutralise in a separate tank, then recycle this rinse water to top the tank up again as it evaporates. We can then offer booster products to boost the performance there after for your top ups. This means no chemicals are being disposed of down drains/ unsafely.

What are the set up costs?

Most set up start from around £10,000. There are some self made hot strips tank which are cheaper, however, this isn’t something we would recommend. The companies who manufacture heated tanks spend months and a considerable amount of money to develop every aspect of their products, with the safety aspect a priority. Running costs are higher when using hot strip due to the heated elements and regular cleaning. The energy consumption is something to consider as the tank will need to be heated around the clock to keep the chemicals at optimum temperature. The top up chemicals are in the region of £3.50 per litre which is almost double to cost of cold strip.

So which option do you choose?

To answer the question on which is best for paint stripping from metal, if you are looking for a cost effective method of stripping your wheels and parts, in the most time effective way, then cold strip is the way to go, however you must consider the increased risk factors. if safety and environment is your number one priority and time isn’t a concern, then hot strip is definitely worth looking into further.

If you are looking for a set up, or looking to improve your current set up, get in touch with us and see how we can help you.

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